Who are you? Where are you based?
I’m Breahna Upton, and I’m based in Long Beach, CA, but I bounce around all over Orange County to share my art.
What are zines to you?
Zines are an extension of myself and allow me to reflect on who I’m becoming. I love when other people read my zines, but they’re first and foremost for myself. Making my own zines is definitely therapeutic, in a way.
What was your first encounter with zines?
Back in 2017, I talked to a friend about more ways to externalize my art and make it accessible to friends who wanted to see it. Since I was really into doing open mic comedy at the time, she suggested I write a “joke book” of sorts. I tinkered with the idea for a few months until I finally did it.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I make mini poem books and zines about relationships, self-exploration, and little slices of life. My zines vary in range, from poems about acne to a collection of insecurities I have about being an artist. I also incorporate some sketches and watercolor paintings!
What inspires you to create zines?
I’m inspired by myself. Sometimes it trips me out that I’m a human being that changes almost every other hour. It’s very beautiful to be a multi-racial woman living in California, originally from North Carolina. That contrast alone inspires me to keep exploring who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
I get totally stoked about the DIY aspect of zines. I love cutting paper, getting messy from my acrylic paint markers, and the journey of what the zine is gonna end up looking like. Most times, I have an IDEA of how I want the zine to be, but the results always surprise me, and I love that so much about zines, too.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
My first zine ever was a collection of poems and haikus called “Your Dyslexia is Showing,” which I still distribute to this day! It includes poems about being mixed race, my friendships, and being admired by a lover. Every piece was inspired by a slice of life, so the poems should make readers feel intrusive…almost like they’re spying on me. I wanted it to come across as intimate since the idea of intimacy inspired me to create it in the first place.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
When making a zine, I have no process. I just let my hands take over. Like I said earlier, I always start with an idea— but then, whatever happens, happens! It’s really fun having no structure to the creation of my zines.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I hope, if anything, they find relatability in something they’re struggling with or feel insecure about. I’d love it if someone read one of my zines and walked away thinking, “Hey, I go through that too! At least I’m not alone. At least someone out there gets it.”
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Think less and just start.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Read “Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?”
Social Media Links:
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Everything provided by the awesome Breahna U.